Bungie has responded to the controversy surrounded its teaser trailer for the next Halo project, saying the reference to "Maddie" is in no way connected to missing five year old Madeleine McCann.

Fans searching the trailer for clues as for what to expect from the developer's latest project, found the phrase "Maddie, where are you?" appears for three frames in the trailer.

This sparked discussion that it was a reference to the girl, who hit headlines last year when she went missing during a family holiday in Portugal.

However, Bungie has put it down to no more than an "unfortunate coincidence".

Brian Jarrard, community voice at Bungie, wrote on a Halo fansite: "This is an unfortunate coincidence but there is no connection between Bungie's game and the tragic disappearance of that little girl."

Also responding to the speculation, the studio's Luke Smith wrote onthe official forums: "As always, all of the characters in our games are fictional. Any similarities between real life and the characters in our games are purely coincidental.

"That said, this is both an unfortunate and unintended coincidence."